2002 May 28 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-28 17:09:42)

A pretty slow day today. Most of the main sites are still working over some of the materials listed here earlier. As a consequence, a certain amount of time was spent today getting the calendar applet to show links for dates that have entries. Subclassing in PHP is not terribly well documented in the books I have, so this was a little more painful that I expected it would be. I still have to work out the scrolling through past months, but I have a couple of days until that’s necessary <G>

(6 items listed below)

  • David Coursey’s editorial of a couple of days ago got someone angry, and his response was made a guest editorial today on ZDNet. A look at the side that thinks Napster means something other than theft.
  • Alex Cox, the independent director of Repo Man and other classics, has an article in The Guardian that contends that the MPAA is too greedy, too controlling, and too unimaginative to be allowed to screw up digital delivery through copyright machinations. Slashdot and LawMeme covered the article in their own fashion.
  • Slashdot discusses a European Union effort to get each CD and DVD manufacturing plant to include a code indicating the source of the product. The comments show that the credible reaction to this initiative could go either way. ZDNet also has a report.

  • Boing Boing has an article by Cory Doctorow discussing his experience on a discussion panel with Harlan Ellison on the subject of copyright in the digital age. Ellison has been very angry for very long about the fact that some of his writings have been transcribed and posted to the UseNet, and this article and the links suggest that his reaction has become counterproductive.

  • John Borland reports on how it appears that an Eminen CD that hasn’t even been released yet is already the #2 query to online CD play info databases – and what this may mean about the patterns of CD piracy today. The New York Times reviews the album; LawMeme has an article.

  • Dan Gillmore responds (sort of) to the Thomas Friedman op-ed piece I mentioned earlier.

2002 May 26 links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-26 13:28:38)

A busy weekend for me; real estate changes may be in my future.

On the links front, a couple of things are out there, particularly more on the effort to block the "analog" hole, a Lessig-Adkinson copyright debate, a worrisome op-ed piece from Thomas Friedman, and a question about the legality of explaining how to use a magic marker to copy CDs.

(10 items listed below)

  • AudioGalaxy is the latest entrant in the RIAA "sue and burn" content protection strategy. Slashdot discussion.

  • The Register is reporting that the BBC has already started to use some of the novel features of DVRs that were reported earlier

  • The Register also reports on a raid on a professional DVD copying ring.

  • An article in EETimes seems to make the point that Intel is not going to play along with the entertainment industry on limiting the technical capabilities of the computers. Others, however, are unconvinced.

  • Some commentaries on the debate between Lawrence Lessig and William Adkinson on the appropriate role for copyright can be found by following this link. Slashdot has their own discussion.

  • The New York Times has an article looking in more detail at the Bertelsmann-Napster deal.

  • Thomas Friedman, a New York Times op-ed writer well known for his coverage of the Middle East, takes a look at what he sees as a change in the mind-set of Silicon Valley. In particular, the implicit trust that underlies much of recent technology development may be going through a sea-change – one that may not be in the best interests of the industry.

  • Doc Searls’ weblog has an article discussing what looks to be a defection of the technology firms to the entertainment industry’s side in the copying/computer capability fight.

  • The recent spate of articles (1, 2, 3) and jokes on how to beat the Sony CD copy protection scheme raises an interesting question: are all these news items a violation of the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions? If so, what does that say about the DMCA vis a vis the First Amendment?

2002 May 24 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-24 10:58:02)

Today’s a busy day, so this set may be all that I get to. There’s a key article from Consensus at Lawyerpoint that everyone should read – the push to coopt consumer electronics to satisfy the copyright concerns of the movie industries is coming to a fever pitch, with them now actually suggesting that all analog-to-digital converter chips should have copyright protection hard-wired! This sort of nonsense is, unfortunately, really dangerous nonsense.

(5 items listed below)

  • Cory Doctorow reports on the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group’s proposals to specify the performance of A2D converters. Update: Slashdot discussion, and a LawMeme article.

  • Payola reform is a current issue with the recording industry. The newswires have a couple of articles – AP, Reuters.
  • The New York Times has an op-ed piece that suggests that the CBDTPA and other legislative challenges to Silicon Valley industries will require the industry to become more sophisticated in their Congressional dealings.
  • Vivendi Universal is going to try selling an MP3 online – Slashdot discusses.
  • NewsBytes reports that the EFF is appealing the recent DeCSS findings. Slashdot discusses.

2002 May 23 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-23 16:06:11)

Sorry! – my SSL certificates expired and *boom* the http server went down. I will be renewing the certificates soon, but the site is back up now!

A great day for humor on the CD copy protection front.

(9 items listed below)

  • User Friendly chimes in on the latest in CD copy protection circumvention.
  • BBSpot adds its own look at the marker "controversy."

  • So, Sony’s looking for a new way to achieve the same ends?
  • The Washington Post is reporting that Microsoft’s efforts to lobby the Pentagon to outlaw open source software is having an opposite effect. Slashdot discusses, and LawMeme has a good set of companion links.
  • The Guardian writes about movie piracy, with studios claiming “hundreds of thousands” of downloads of Star Wars’ AotC so far.
  • Salon has an article about FightCloud.com, which has a different business model for CD sales. Update: The author of the Salon piece has posted an article to Slashdot, giving links to the material that DIDN’T get into the article.
  • Followup: The NYTimes article on DVRs that I posted to yesterday’s links (click on the yellow arrow below) has led to a Slashdot discussion.
  • Doc Searls gives an entertaining and exhaustive review in LinuxJournal of the CARP webcasting royalty controversy to date.

  • For some heavy reading, take a look at Cyberspace as Place, and the Tragedy of the Digital Anticommons – the article suggests that the use of private property as a working metaphor for resource allocation in a domain that does not really support the features of true private property (i.e., the internet) leads to gross misallocations of resources and terrible misperception of opportunities and threats. Interesting read albeit lengthy (117 page PDF).

2002 May 22 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-22 23:27:08)

A busy day on other things, so nothing here yet. Of course, I’ve seen a couple things, so I hope to get them posted later tonight – after another bike ride (Cambridge weather is finally starting to resemble spring again!)

Also, for those who are interested, the RSS feed now actually works (a problem with a server environment variable is “fixed” – I just forced the variable to be what it should be instead of trying to figure out the necessary Apache environment variables <G>). I’ll be a little more assiduous tomorrow, but I’m getting tired!

UPDATE: OK – added a few things, although it is a little Slashdot-heavy. On the other hand, having looked around this late at night, I got the jump on the New York Times edition for tomorrow!

(7 items listed below)

  • Slashdot interviews the general manager of SomaFM, one of the webcasting operations whose financial picture may have gotten a little better with yesterday’s rejection of CARP webcasting royalties. Of course, as the Wired.com article points out, it may be that the RIAA petition is the one that the Copyright Office will be the one supported.

  • Slashdot has a discussion of a news item added earlier about the submission of several amicus curiae briefs by supporters of the Eldred lawsuit. GrepLaw also has a piece with more links.

  • Law.com reports that the idea of an Internet FAQ is not copyrightable, but the actual text of a specific FAQ may be (not actually decided – at least in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.) Slashdot has a discussion.

  • To learn the collective mind of the geekworld on the subject of IP, take a look at this Slashdot discussion.

  • In distinction with the (lazy/ignorant/worse?) record companies, Amy Harmon’s article in the Times discusses some interesting ways that advertisers are planning to use the technologies in Tivo and ReplayTV to get some “eyeballs” back. (And Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets a little plug!)

  • Here’s an article from a week ago that I missed in the NYTimes – a record store using MP3s to sell records – what a weird idea!

  • John Borland has an article on ZDNet that says that KaZaa and Morpheus are getting ready to concede in their court battle; seems they’re running out of money. Of course, they said the same thing about Napster.

2002 May 21 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-21 23:11:15)

A trip to the dentist for a cleaning today gave me a look at a recent(!) Time Magazine, with their writeup on the recording industry and CD copying.

And the CARP royalties on webcasting have been rejected – there’s a Slashdot discussion.

Otherwise, there’s plenty of news online today that scares the socks off me – and none of it’s from Ridge or Ashcroft. I’m not feeling very optimistic today, notwithstanding the CARP decision – at a minimum, consider joining the EFF!

(5 items listed)

  • Something from the May 20 Time – the inflammatory title says it all: Burn, Baby, Burn – a summary of the state of play in the RIAA vs. CD copying game:

    The very idea makes Rosen go ballistic: “It’s the height of arrogance for Philips to worry about its patent royalties when we’re worrying about the health of the industry,” she says. But if an industry giant like Philips distances itself from copy protection, the whole enterprise could be counterproductive. A logoless, warning-labeled CD is not going to look as attractive to customers as its unprotected counterparts. Besides, who wants to run even a slight risk that a disc might not work in all machines? “We’re hearing that kids have slowed down their purchases of music CDs because they’re not sure which ones will crash their machines,” says analyst Rob Enderle of the Giga Information Group. “The fear may exist even if the problem doesn’t.”

    Other parts of the article discuss the hardware industy’s reponse in the face of CBDTPA et al. – kind of brings back the recent discussions of the Gateway and Apple ads.

  • The Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel’s proposed royalty rates for webcasting were rejected (text of order). The Slashdot commentary is not terribly deep. I’m sure there will be more from LawMeme, GrepLaw and Copyfight. Wired’s Kendra Mayfield weighs in here. And an earlier article from Jane Black in BusinessWeekOnline presages some of today’s events.
  • David Berlind of ZDNet has a scary story to tell about Microsoft, IBM, WWW standards and intellectual property – coupled with a disturbing examination of the differences between what Microsoft tells reporters and what Microsoft says under oath.

  • Noah Shachtman of Wired tells another scary story – this one about using tricks in the copyright law to guarantee ownership of DNA sequences by encoding them in songs – decoding the sequence from the song, if copyrighted, would be a DMCA violation and, instead of getting 17 years of protection, the biotech firm gets 95 (or more, depending on how Eldred turns out).

  • More on defeating Sony’s copy protection with a felt tipped pen – this CNN article includes a picture.

2002 May 20 links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-20 22:44:26)

Well, after taking a couple days off to deal with some other issues, I find myself with a backlog of links added and comments to construct. I may end up being briefer than I would like, but I hope to get the essentials across, at least.

Also, note the little calendar to the left. My brother, a fan of Dave Winer‘s Radio/Frontier/Userland/Manila tools (and the author of a quite interesting and entertaining blog), insists that any good weblog should have a calendar tool for moving quickly through the archive. Since this is a bit of a "roll your own" weblog, I’m going to be trying to cobble it together out of a variety of open source code bits. With luck, I may actually have something workable in a couple of days – depends on how good I am at putting together the necessary SQL.

(13 items listed)

  • First, let’s talk about KaZaa (or KaZaA). They go public today with their Altnet system, and there apparently is a business model around distribution of copyrighted materials. Unfortunately for them, a worm, Benjamin, has apparently also been released. Some may see this as sabotage by the record industries, but the liability issues are insanely high (under the Patriot Act if nothing else), so it’s more likely it’s just a disgruntled hacker. There is a Slashdot discussion for those who are interested.
  • Then we have a BusinessWeek article discussing how the CBDTPA may make Linux and other Open Source & Free Software projects infeasible, in that hardware specification would no longer be open to use without a payment of licensing fees to the owners of the necessary digital rights management hardware/software that would have to be embedded in all computing devices. This is not a new theory, but seeing it in black and white in the mainstream press is a little frightening. Again, there is a Slashdot discussion.
  • Looks like someone handling public relations for Celine Dion decided to get the New York Times to explain that all the trouble that computer users in Europe are having with her new CD (crashing iMacs, among other things) are certainly not her fault! (More related links in the May 13 and May 14 blog entries.)

  • Trent Lott’s efforts to slow Senate committee consideration of a Holling’s sponsored privacy bill has people complaining; even though there are analyses that suggest that just because the word privacy is used in the title is no guarantee that it actually will protect it.

  • The New York Times points out that Bertelsmann had to buy Napster, rather than merge, in order to shield itself from potential copyright liability.

  • LawMeme tries to talk some sense about the creation of bootleg DVDs of movies that are videotaped during previews, in an attempt to show why the DMCA, CBDTPA and other instruments of their ilk will do nothing to remedy the perceived problem.

  • SFgate’s Benny Evangelista gives a good summary of the state of play in the CARP/webcasting controversy.
  • Reuters picks up on the latest DMCA-violating technology (at least when it comes to music CDs) – the felt-tipped marker. Old news, but a first for the mainstream, again.

  • In the Eldred case, there’s a wealth of resources accompanying an article on LawMeme on the submission of an amicus curiae brief.

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education points out that Turnitin.com, a WWW site that can be used to test papers for plagiarism, is probably open to copyright infringement action because of the way in which it implements its services.

  • Here you go: Microsoft has admitted that Windows code is so poorly-written that it would be a risk to national security if the antitrust remedies were to include open disclosure of the source. Hmmm – maybe some of those billions in the bank should be used to fix some of these bugs instead of acquiring other companies to cement its control over new industries – like pouring money down the Xbox hole, for example?

  • Alan Cox (Linux kernel hacker extraordinarie) expresses his views on copyright in a Slashdot interview.

  • Finally, a look at the recent price reductions in the XBox – is Microsoft in trouble? This article says they are; and the Slashdot discussion is interesting, particularly in light of this old Salon article.

2002 May 17 Entries

(entry last updated: 2002-05-17 22:34:18)

Nothing like starting the day with a typical ZDNet screed from David Coursey. With luck, the day will get better.
Update: Well it did for Shawn Fanning, anyway. Unfortunately, 2600 is not getting a break. And Declan McCullagh is not a happy camper.

Off for a bike ride – maybe I’ll get some time to work on this more later……

(5 items below)

  • A truly shallow contrarian view of the pending ultimate demise of Napster is online at ZDNet Anchordesk. Given that many of us believe that Coursey’s editorials are usually consequences of his ability to channel the evil side of Bill Gates, it’s clear that his skills are broader than that – here he channels the worst of Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti in what has to be the most limited summary of the issue online yet.

  • Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the CARP webcasting royalties proposal. The website gives the testimony of the head of the RIAA, a representative of DiMA, Arbitron and several webcasters. Worth slogging through to see the current status of the debate. And there’s more information, though little discussion, on Slashdot.
  • Declan McCullagh reports that 2600’s appeal was declined without review by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. All that’s left is the Supreme Court – otherwise, linking to DeCSS will get you in really hot water.
  • Bertelsmann buys Napster – how many lives is that now? Slashdot chimes in
  • Declan McCullagh writes in Wired.com how, notwithstanding the controversies that seem to consume him, the DMCA is still largely seen as a great bill within the Beltway. And he’s pretty nasty about it.

2002 May 16 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-16 23:49:26)

Today’s highlights include a more serious article on the alliance between KaZaA and others to press for compulsory licensing of online music. In conjunction with some strange policy pronouncements by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on webcasting royalties, it looks like we have a couple of brutal fights brewing here!

(10 items listed below)

  1. Roger Parloff writes about the CBDTPA in an opinion piece at law.com. The closing paragraph is pretty clear:

    Though my guess is that creators can adequately protect their digital wares without legislation of this sort, if events should prove me wrong, the Hollings legislation should still be defeated. If controlling digital property requires government intervention on this scale, then there should be no such control. Digital technology will have rebuffed the legal system’s attempts to tame it, anti-protectionists will have won the war, and it will be time for protectionists like me to raise the white flag. We can’t imperil everyone’s freedom and prosperity in a quixotic quest. The game has to end somewhere.

  2. The New York Times’ Circuits section has an article by Michelle Slatalla that gives a practical look at the online sale of used books in conjunction with new versions at Amazon.com. The Publishers’ Guild complaint about this practice just makes them look stupid and greedy.
  3. Another Napster obit can be found in today’s Boston Globe; and there’s a late-breaking one in Salon, too.
  4. CNet News.com has posted an article on the idea floated by KaZaA, Verizon and others to get compulsory licensing on the table. Much more backgound than the earlier article I posted – for example: “Compulsory licensing is political dynamite from the point of view of the record companies and other copyright holders.” You bet – the article goes on to posit that this may be the consequence of an electronics industry backlash against the CBDTPA.
  5. Business Week Online has an opinion piece decrying the erosion of ‘fair use‘ and ‘first sale’ (see, for example, the Amazon.com conflict over used book sales) under recent court decisions, particularly in the ElcomSoft case and the ReplayTV case.
  6. The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that plans to pressure, via boycotts, academic journals to put content online have fizzled, and new strategies are being tested. This article has a number of useful links to give background on the issue.
  7. The Creative Commons WWW site goes live today/tonight. Founded by many luminaries in the field of digital copyright law, it seeks to develop instruments to promote and sustain the public domain.
  8. John Dvorak is usually just shrill, and this commentary is now too late for Napster, but his solution for music ‘piracy’ is a fun read. (Thanks, Alan!) The funny thing is that what he suggests (reducing CD prices) is so obvious, yet so alien, to the industry, they probably will go broke just to spite us – and then they’ll be forced to sell their catalogs to Rhino, who’ll make a killing!
  9. An extensive article at SFGate.com by Benny Evangelista summarizes the state of play in P2P sharing of movies, with a multidimensional look at the issue, motivations, etc. on each side of the issue. For fun, there also is a top 20 list of available films as of today.
  10. Another article from SFGate is on the subject of webcasting, and the statement by Sen. Leahy that the two groups better get together on the CARP licensing rates before Congress gets dragged into it. Frankly, everyone should be very afraid of that, given the following Leahy position: “Artists should be paid,” said Leahy, who said he listens to Internet- streamed radio. “But small companies should be allowed to survive.” Sounds to me like he’s saying that the viability of the small business’ revenue model should have nothing to do with royalty levels – and that’s bound to start a really nasty fight!

2002 May 15 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-15 22:09:48)

Most of what I found today consists of followups to earlier postings. The advantages (or disadvantages) of being in the office late at night, I guess. Update: The clear big news of the day is the breakdown of the BMG/Napster discussions, and the eulogies for the apparently soon-defunct Napster.

(9 items listed below)

  • An early article and a more detailed followup on Napster from the New York Times – and there’s a Slashdot discussion that’s started up. And GrepLaw has some other links on the subject.
  • The Register has a discussion with an Apple exec that includes a discussion of the implications of the controversial Microsoft licensing scheme for Apple’s OS X plans.
  • ZDNet News reports that Sony is going to use Scour’s services to distribute music online – a company that many, including Sony sued into near-bankruptcy in the past. Is a pattern emerging, or am I just the suspicious sort?
  • GrepLaw has more information on the Runner’s World deep-linking controversy (in yesterday’s links).
  • Brad King gives the history and consequences of Napster in his online obituary at Wired.com – The Slashdot community weighs in, too.
  • EPIC joins the SonicBlue case on privacy grounds.
  • Slashdot has an interview of Siva Viadhaynathan (author of Copyrights and Copywrongs).
  • Fortune has an article on the current contretemps between Hollywood and Silicon Valley that inspired the CBDTPA. It misses the point almost completely, but it does show the depth of feeling on both sides. But, maybe that’s all you can expect of Fortune.
  • Late News: The order requiring SonicBlue to spy on their ReplayTV customers stemming from the current legal action was stayed this afternoon. There’s a discussion at Slashdot.